Traveling to different places is indeed a lifetime experience. It’s among those things that help us refresh our body and soul. However, the major drawback concerned with traveling is the waste that gets accumulated everywhere we travel. It’s a human tendency to throw things here and there once they are useless. And we end up unwittingly trashing the very spot we came to see – so there needs to be a step towards zero waste, aka sustainable, aka eco-friendly tourism.
Whether it’s used utensils, plastic water bottles, or hygiene stuff, all these products add to the waste. They are used once and then tossed ‘away.’ “Away” typically means being buried in a landfill site where it can last forever, polluting the ecosystem around it. Or it enters the ocean, where (then it will last forever, or inevitably, over hundreds of years, break down to tiny microplastics.
Being an eco-friendly traveler, there are many things you could do to ensure zero wastage while traveling to different places. The best way to reduce the waste is to reject it. Say no to needless single-use disposable bags including straws and plastic bags. This can be achieved simply by being prepared.
We have come up with a comprehensive list of zero waste essentials that will make your journey both comfortable and eco-friendly.
List of Zero Waste Essentials During Travel
Avoid creating waste by throwing plastic bags here and there everywhere you go. Use a daypack or backpack to keep all your stuff in one single place. In case you prefer carrying a lot of things while traveling, you may purchase trekking backpacks that have enough space to keep the used clothes and other stuff that is no longer required.
Start using these backpacks to start a zero-waste lifestyle. Make sure you have a decent and spacious backpack before you begin traveling to a destination.
A simple reusable shopping bag (Organinc Tote Bag/Cotton Mesh Bags) that folds away will save you from having to use plastic bags. These bags are often useful when you’re traveling for extra stuff or packing.Depending on how you travel, you may only need one of these, but it makes a world of difference having your own bag when you’re out for groceries or other items.
Most of us can’t even think of drinking tap water. Mainly, if we are traveling to a different country, drinking tap water would not be possible for most people. Hence, buying plastic bottles would be the only option left. Even if you buy two bottles a day, it would add up to 14 plastic bottles in a week. All these bottles would ultimately end up in an ocean or would degrade the ecosystem in different ways.
This is where these filter bottles become the best option. They not just reduce the amount of waste but also allow you to drink pure, safe, and clean water throughout the day. There are different kinds of reusable water bottles that serve other purposes. The basic ones can be refilled with tap water. In that case, you are not near any hotel or a place where you have tap water near you, and you can purchase reusable bottles with filters. The basic ones can filter protozoa and bacteria from lakes and stream water. But these bottles do not filter out the viruses.
In case you are too cautious about your health, then there’s a third category of water bottles with fiber membranes that can filter out viruses, protozoa, and all kinds of bacteria. It can filter out water from streams, lakes, and even pathogens. It’s a perfect product if you are traveling near a water source close to animals and humans.
Having these bottles would not only quench your thirst at any point in time but would also keep the environment free from any kind of plastic waste. Additionally, these bottles would also provide you with water free of any type of harmful substances that might result in health issues during your travel.
Our Recommendation is Lifestraw Go Reusable Personal Water Purifier Bottle
The next eco-friendly product that a straw loving traveler must carry is steel or bamboo straw. People have evolved over the years, and with them, their creativity has also evolved. They are coming up with many unique ideas that are both useful and eco-friendly. Among them are straws made of steel or bamboo. It is probably the best zero-waste product for travelers.
If you prefer using straws, then these straws are best for you. It would help if you carried a couple of pieces with you. You need not take a whole packet of plastic straws that are neither safe for the environment nor humans. You can use steel/bamboo straws for any number of times you want to. Just wash them with water every time you use them to wash off all the dirt particles.
Cutlery & To-Go Plates Kit
The most enjoyable part about a trip is street food. Most of us love eating street food on the go. For that purpose, we would require a new set of cutlery each time we would take food from a new street vendor. But that would only end up increasing the amount of waste in the vehicle or bags.
For that purpose, you have a reusable cutlery set or to go plate kits. These kits are made using eco-friendly products. Once you have this kit, you are free to eat as much street food as you want and wash it before using it again. It is one of the best and most useful zero-waste essential products.
Whenever you’re spending time outdoors, having the right hydration on hand will help keep you at your best. These coffee mugs are generally double-wall insulated tumblers with an stainless steel body, which ensures that your drink holds its temperature at all times. They also come with beverage lid that uses magnet strength to hold your water, beer, or favorite drink on the lock. Mostly BPA-free, dishwasher clear, and No Sweat Design to make sure your hands stay dry. This way, you can stop using plastic cups everywhere you go, and you can also use your cup to fill your coffee before you leave.
There are wonderful things you need in your zero waste pack. You can use them to buy pre-made salads from the bistro counter, take your leftovers, order take-away food or extra dessert after dinner, or bring around your cheese slices for your scrumptious sandwich. Collapsible storage set typically is made of FDA approved premium food-grade silicone material. No more worries about unsafe toxicity from heating with a plastic bowl in the microwave. These containers with lids can be stored with its 1/3 size to save space when not in use.
Facts : An estimated 1 billion plastic toothbrushes are entering the landfill every year in the United States. These plastics go not only to our land, but also to our oceans. Great garbage islands of size of Mexico have been discovered floating in the Pacific. It is projected that there are more than 5.25 trillion bits of plastic waste in the ocean, and our marine life is directly impacted. A lot of marine life dies from plastic ingestion every year and they’re just found.
Conventional toothbrushes are made from a variety of different hard plastics, high-density polyethylene, and nylon. It will take more than 500 years to break down according to U.S. National Environmental Organizations fully.
While bamboo toothbrush handles are made from natural bamboo, it will take only around six months to break down. Bamboo toothbrushes can even be composted, although you may need to remove the bristles first, as these are often made of nylon.
Bali Soap’s exotic pack of six ultra-nourishing moisturizing bars thoroughly purifies, mildly cleanses the skin, combats pathogens, soothes itching, removes flaking and moisturizes delicate, damaged, dry skin.These are Long lasting bars that rinse off clean and leaves no soap residue behind
Natural Shampoo and Conditioner Bars containing only the finest ingredients, Sweet & Sassy’s solid shampoo and conditioner are all-natural. Free of harsh chemicals, perfumes, and SLS. These waste-free bars leave hair lush, with a rejuvenating shine and refreshing scent!. They are right for you and the Earth, and it comes with three easy-to-hold round bars that last up to 80 washes each! When not in use, store in the reusable case.
Unlike traditional shower gels, shampoo, conditioners, these solid bars are non-messy, small enough to fit in your carry-on, and not subject to airport liquid restrictions. Also, With the removal of excess air and water, products require less packaging and become more efficient to ship. At scale, these small differences in product size and weight lead to significant carbon emission reductions.
This product is meant for ladies. For all those who do not know, it is possible to make your period a zero waste and eco-friendly event. Instead of packing sanitary pads and related stuff, you can opt for reusable period kits that are readily available in the market.
You can get Period Cups that is one of the products to keep you stress-free during the cycle. Another product for zero-waste travel is period panty – . Period panties are lined underwear and are very useful if you have to travel for very long. They are perfect products for lighter flow days and can be substituted with sanitary pads. Or if you are not comfortable with these products, then go for biodegradable sanitary pads specially crafted for heavy flows and our Planet Earth
More Zero-Waste/Eco-Friendly/ Sustainable Travel Tips
- Pack your own snacks and food in your reusable bags or containers. Always pack more to stop the inevitable trickle payments when you run out of food! When you order takeaway, ask if you can get food in your own container to save waste.
- You can also carry beeswax wrap to save half-eat snacks or keep your food fresh on the route.
- Waste is not a concern when it is disposed of or recycled correctly. Look for cans and even compost bins anywhere you can find them.
- Don’t buy tacky souvenirs; most of them are manufactured in another country and end up gathering dust years later. Spend your money on an experience or purchase it from local craft shops—this way, you give it back to the local economy.
- Use Cloth napkins wherever possible. Paper napkins are an unnecessary waste generator that is easily replaceable with a reusable, washable fabric.
- Refilling your own reusable travel water bottle with a filter will save as much money as you can on considerable single-use plastic bottles. If you need to purchase water, buy larger amounts rather than single sizes.
Photos of the Why Zero-Waste
We like to keep some photos on our phones showing pictures of wildlife caught up in plastic. Many vendors are confused about why you don’t want to take straws or single-use cutlery. A few photos on your phone help them know why you don’t want the extra plastic thus create awareness as you travel and explore new destinations.
So, are you ready for a zero-waste trip? Using these products would not just offer you a hassle-free experience but would also help in the environment safe. We are sure your co-tourist will appreciate your efforts and will adopt your eco-friendly style soon. Being a responsible citizen, it’s our duty to keep the environment free from any kind of plastic waste. If you are a traveler, make sure you have these products on your packing list.